• Thursday May 29, 2014

    2014/15 CCL Draw: a deeper look

    Mariano Pavone (pictured) and Cruz Azul will be aiming to repeat as the CONCACAF Champions League champion during the 2014/15 edition. (Photo: Mexsport)

    MIAMI – With representatives of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers present on Wednesday at the InterContinental at Doral Miami for the 2014/15 draw, the topic of conversation afterwards focused on possible group winners and anticipated match-ups. 

    CONCACAF.com takes a look at the eight groups and offers information that will help prepare you for the months of speculation ahead August’s launch.

    GROUP 1

    Teams: Pachuca (Mexico), Real España (Honduras), Municipal (Guatemala)

    At first glance…

    Between them, Pachuca (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009/10) and Municipal (1974) have amassed five CONCACAF club titles.  The Tuzos are the confederation’s third most crowned team behind fellow Mexican sides Cruz Azul (6 titles) and Club America (5).

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Pachuca won the 2009/10 CCL title, overcoming current champion Cruz Azul on the away-goals rule after the final ended 2-2 on aggregate
    -  During its run to the 2009/10 CCL title, Pachuca did not register an away win in the quarterfinals, semifinals or final (0 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss)
    -  Municipal has never defeated a Mexican team in CCL play (0 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses)
    -  Municipal has only one loss (3 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss) in eight all-time CCL home games … only setback came against eventual-champion Monterrey, 1-0, on August 29, 2012
    -  Real España is making its third CCL appearance … three of its four all-time wins have come at home, including one over Municipal-rival Comunicaciones, 2-0, on September 30, 2009

    GROUP 2

    Teams: Sporting Kansas City (USA), Saprissa (Costa Rica), Real Esteli (Nicaragua)

    At first glance…

    Saprissa, which is returning to the CCL for the first time since 2010/11, has won a pair of CONCACAF titles (1993, 2005) and is the last non-Mexican team to lift the trophy.  Sporting Kansas City and Real Esteli met twice in the last CCL with the current MLS winning in Nicaragua (2-0) and drawing at home (1-1).

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Saprissa advanced to the 2010/11 semifinals, where it was eliminated 3-2 on aggregate by Real Salt Lake
    -  Saprissa qualified for the 2014/15 CCL by winning the 2014 Costa Rican Clausura, topping 2013/14 CCL semifinalist Alajuelense, 1-0 on aggregate
    -  Sporting Kansas City conceded one goal or fewer in its first five CCL games, before falling at Cruz Azul, 5-1, in the second leg of the 2013/14 quarterfinals
    -  Real Esteli is making its fifth CCL appearance and has scored one goal or fewer in each of its 12 all-time games in the competition
    -  Real Esteli has conceded one goal or fewer in six of its last seven CCL matches

    GROUP 3

    Teams: New York Red Bulls (USA), Toronto FC or Impact de Montreal (Canada), FAS (El Salvador)

    At first glance… 

    FAS (1979) is the last Salvadoran team to win a CONCACAF club title and will be making its third CCL appearance.  Regardless of whether Toronto FC or the Impact de Montreal eventually represents Canada, a CCL group will contain two MLS teams for the second straight year.  In the 2013/14 edition, Montreal and the San Jose Earthquakes were in Group 5.

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  The New York Red Bulls have made one previous CCL appearance, falling in the preliminary round to Trinidad & Tobago’s W Connection, 4-3 on aggregate.
    -  The New York Red Bulls roster is highlighted by Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry.  In 104 regular-season appearances for the club, the 36-year-old has scored 44 goals.
    -  FAS went unbeaten in its first three CCL games (1 win, 2 draws, 0 losses), but is winless in eight of its last nine competition outings (1 win, 1 draw, 7 losses)
    -  Toronto FC advanced to the 2012/13 semifinals, falling to Santos, 7-3 on aggregate
    -  Impact de Montreal advanced to the 2008/09 quarterfinals, falling to Santos, 5-4 on aggregate

    GROUP 4

    Teams: Tauro FC (Panama), D.C. United (USA), Waterhouse FC (Jamaica)

    At first glance…

    D.C. United became the first team from the United States to win the CONCACAF club title, defeating Toluca, 1-0, in the 1998 final.  That same year, the four-time MLS champion went on to capture the 1998 InterAmerican Cup by topping Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, 2-1 on aggregate.

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Tauro FC is best known for scoring the first-ever goal in CCL competition, when Edwin Aguilar netted in the sixth minute against MLS’s Chivas USA
    -  Tauro FC, making its fifth CCL appearance, has lost five straight games in the competition, but did not concede more than two goals in any of those outings
    -  D.C. went winless in its first 10 CCL appearances, but is unbeaten in its last four games in the competition (3 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses)
    -  D.C. United has scored one goal or fewer in 10 of its 14 all-time CCL games
    -  Waterhouse FC is making its first CCL appearance. 

    GROUP 5

    Teams: Olimpia (Honduras), Portland Timbers (USA), Alpha United (Guyana) 

    At first glance…

    Olimpia is one of only two teams to qualify for each of the CCL’s seven all-time editions (El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan is the other.  The Lions (1972, 1988) have won two CONCACAF club titles to go along with 28 domestic ones.

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Olimpia is unbeaten in seven of its last nine CCL matches (4 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses), but has not scored more than one goal in its last seven outings
    -  Olimpia’s best CCL finish came in 2010/11, advancing to the quarterfinals, where it fell to Saprissa, 3-1 on aggregate
    -  The Portland Timbers will be making their first CCL appearance, qualifying as a result of finishing first in the Western Conference during the 2013 MLS regular season
    -  Alpha United qualified for its second CCL by winning Group 3 in the 2014 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship
    -  In two all-time CCL games, Alpha United lost at Herediano (8-0), before earning a 2-2 draw against the visiting Costa Ricans on August 4, 2011

    GROUP 6

    Teams: Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Chorrillo FC (Panama) 

    At first glance…

    All three teams in this challenging group have appeared in previous editions of the CCL.  Cruz Azul is the defending champion, overcoming Toluca on the away-goals rule after their final ended 1-1 on aggregate.  Alajuelense will be looking to go one better after advancing to the 2013/14 semifinals, where they were eliminated by Toluca, 3-0 on aggregate. 

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Alajuelense was unbeaten in 12 of its 14 previous CCL games, before suffering a pair of defeats against Toluca in the 2013/14 semifinals (1-0 home loss, 2-0 away loss)
    -  Alajuelense is unbeaten in nine of its 10 all-time CCL home games (6 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss)
    - Cruz Azul holds the CCL records for most games played (50), most wins (31), most points (101) and most goals scored (107)
    -  Cruz Azul has conceded 1 goal or fewer in 11 consecutive CCL games
    Chorrillo FC will be making its second CCL appearance after dropping a pair of decisions to both Municipal and Monterrey in 2012/13

    GROUP 7

    Teams: Leon (Mexico), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Belmopan Bandits (Belize)

    At first glance…

    A unique combination of teams adds to the group’s intrigue.  Leon enters its first CCL after winning two straight Mexican league titles, while Isidro Metapan has captured two straight Salvadoran championship and is one of only two teams to qualify for all seven editions of the competition.  Belmopan Bandits is looking to become the first team from Belize to play a CCL game at home.  In 2008/09, Hankook Verdes had to shift its home game against Cruz Azul to Jalapa, Guatemala.

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Leon has never won a CONCACAF club title, but it did finish as runner-up in 1993 behind Saprissa.
    -  Prior to winning the last two Liga MX titles, Leon had not lifted the league trophy since the 1991-92 season
    -  Isidro Metapan’s best CCL finish came in 2011/12, when it advanced to quarterfinals against Pumas.  The Jaguares won the opener (2-1) on a pair of goals by Mark Lester Blanco, before falling in the second leg (8-0).
    -  In its last CCL outing, Isidro Metapan posted a 4-0 victory over the visiting LA Galaxy.
    -  Belmopan Bandits have won back-to-back Belize league titles

    GROUP 8

    Teams: Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Club America (Mexico), Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)

    At first glance…

    Club America will be aiming to equal Cruz Azul’s record most CONCACAF club championship, when it returns for a second straight trip to the CCL.  Also returning from the last edition is Comunicaciones, which is making its fourth overall appearance.

    Five Fast Facts…

    -  Comunicaciones best CCL finish came in 2009/10, when it fell narrowly to eventual-champion Pachuca, 3-2 on aggregate, in the quarterfinals.
    -  Comunicaciones shared the CONCACAF Champions Cup title in 1978 with Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico) and Defence Force (Trinidad & Tobago)
    -  Club America has won five CONCACAF club titles (1977, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2006)
    -  Club America did not advance past the group stage in 2013/14 CCL, falling twice to Alajuelense (1-0 away loss, 1-0 home loss)
    -  Puerto Rico Bayamon is the second team from Puerto Rico to qualify for the CCL.  The Puerto Islanders participated in 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13.


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